December 14, 2007 / 9:34 AM / 12 years ago

Korean scientists produce kimchi-colored kitties

This picture taken under ultraviolet light in a dark room shows a cloned Turkish Angola cat (L), whose genes were modified with a fluorescent protein and which gives off a red glow, as a regular cloned cat (R) appears green at a laboratory of Gyeongsang National University in Jinju, south of Seoul, December 12, 2007. The university researchers have succeeded in cloning cats after modifying a gene to change their skin color. Because of the red fluorescence protein in their skin cells, the three Turkish Angola kittens look reddish under ultraviolet light, the researchers said, The Korea Times reported. REUTERS/Choi Byung-gil/Yonhap

SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - South Korean scientists have cloned Turkish Angora cats with a red fluorescence protein which makes them emit an eerie glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.

A team led by Kong Il-keun, an animal cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, said the cats would be used for genetic research.

The protein was produced by manipulating their genes. The cats themselves do not glow in the dark but their ears, nose and other places where fur cover is minimal shine a red color reminiscent of kimchi, the fiery national pickle dish.

The cats were born earlier this year but the Science and Technology Ministry only published the results this week. Kong is a South Korean pioneer in cat cloning.

South Korea, once a world leader in cloning and human embryonic stem cell studies, suffered a major setback in 2006 after two papers on human embryonic stem cells by once-acclaimed scientist Hwang Woo-suk were found to have been based on faked data.

Reporting by Reuters Television; editing by Miral Fahmy and Roger Crabb

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